Texas National Guard Reverses Position on Off-Duty Concealed Carry During Deployment
CAMP SWIFT, Texas — The Texas National Guard (TNG) has reversed its previously stated position about guardsmen being allowed to carry personal weapons when off duty during the deployment to the border region under Operation Strong Safety. Texas Adjutant General, Major General John Nichols, confirmed the change in policy during a press conference where it was revealed the deployment of TNG soldiers and airmen had already begun.
Breitbart Texas reported on August 20th that the TNG Staff Judge Advocate’s office had briefed guardsmen they would not be allowed to carry personal weapons while off duty during the deployment, even if they had a concealed carry license or were a certified peace officer in their civilian professional duties. Responding to a question from Breitbart Texas as to if this policy had been changed, General Nichols said, “Actually, that was a federal policy we were looking at. We have applied the state laws so they can.”
“The main thing is,” Nichols explained, “I don’t want personal firearms on duty. We have duty weapons for that and duty weapons training.”
“It is the right of Texas citizens, if they're allowed to,” he concluded, “...carry firearms when they are not on duty.”
Breitbart Texas originally learned the soldiers would not be allowed to carry personal weapons for self-defense while off-duty from one of the guardsmen being deployed to the Rio Grande Sector of the Texas border. “They told us we are considered to be ‘on duty’ 24/7. Even when we are in civilian clothes, we are not allowed the same right of self-protection as any other citizen of this state.”
A few days after the Breitbart Texas article was published, the guardsman said they were informed the policy had changed, and they would be allowed to carry concealed weapons while off duty as long as they were properly licensed.
It was not made clear how the soldiers would be able to transport their personal weapons from Camp Swift to the border region as personal weapons are not allowed on post, nor in military transport vehicles.
Bob Price is a staff writer and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.